In the years since she earned her MSW at NYU Silver in 2007, Class of 2019 Doctorate in Clinical Social Work (DSW) student Amy C. Lemen, MA, LCSW has established herself as an up-and-coming leader in the social work profession. That fact was underscored when she received an Emerging Social Work Leader Award in 2015 from the National Association of Social Workers, New York City Chapter.
Upon completing her MSW, Ms. Lemen was hired to launch the social work and Parkinson’s wellness programs at the then-newly-established Marlene and Paolo Fresco Institute for Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders at NYU Langone Medical Center. Over the years, she has worked to build the NYU Clinical Social Work and Social Work Education for Parkinson’s Program, which incorporates a multi-modal approach to supportive care in the clinic, community and home. She currently oversees Fresco Institute programs and services both domestically and in Italy and was recently appointed to faculty as Research Assistant Professor of Neurology and Medicine at NYU School of Medicine. She is the managing director of the Edmond J. Safra National Parkinson’s Wellness Initiative and is a Field Supervisor for NYU Silver students placed at the Fresco Institute. She is a frequent presenter at social work, neurology and movement disorder trainings and conferences.
Ms. Lemen noted she is fortunate to work in the field of neurology and neurodegenerative illness where there is a growing awareness of the value of the expert clinical social work perspective on the multidisciplinary care team. She said, “What energizes me is the opportunity to think creatively about defining the role of social work in effecting positive change in our clients’ lives. I have learned to submit abstracts and to present at neurology and neurodegenerative conferences to educate others not only about what clinical social work is but about how it can innovate to improve quality of life and outcomes for patients and families living with neurodegenerative illness.”
As accomplished as Ms. Lemen has been, she was compelled to pursue her DSW in order to increase her capacity for clinical, administrative, and academic leadership. “I believe deeply in the social work profession and promoting leadership within it,” she said. “With its focus on clinical leadership skills in education, supervision and practice theories, NYU Silver’s DSW program is perfectly aligned with my professional goals, and the faculty are some of the best minds in social work. After years of output as a practitioner and administrator, the program is filling up my tank in terms of professional development, and it is preparing me take my portfolio to the next phase with publications and research. When I earn my degree, I will be well positioned to advance practice research and to continue to educate the next generation of social work leaders.”
Ms. Lemen said she would encourage other experienced social work practitioners to consider pursuing a DSW as well. “I believe we must constantly work to define ourselves as social workers. I know from supervising and collaborating with other social workers that many of us have vast amounts of practice knowledge that we often don’t think – or don’t have time to think – to share with our colleagues. What I would say to other social workers is this, ‘you know so much! Getting a DSW is a great way to build upon your experience and to learn how to share it with others.’ Working to build the knowledge base at all levels of influence, including the macro, helps us to be of greater service to our clients, our teams, the profession and the community.”